Members of the Gambino Crime Family Indicted under RICO
On November 9, 2023, Jeff appeared on NewsNation Now, hosted by Nichole Berlie, to discuss an indictment issued by the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York. The indictment alleges that several members of the Gambino crime family engaged in extortion, witness intimidation, and union-related crimes in an effort to dominate the New York carting and demolition business. Click here to watch the segment.
Trump Indicted under the Georgia RICO Act
On September 24, 2023, Jeff was a guest on Getting Schooled, a Fox Nation podcast hosted by Abby Hornacek. Jeff talked about the RICO charges against former President Donald Trump, the general history and application of RICO, and RICO as portrayed in Hollywood. To watch the program, click here (Fox Nation subscription required). To listen to the podcast, click here.
On August 14, 2023, Fani Willis, the District Attorney for Fulton County, Georgia, filed a 41 count indictment against former President Donald Trump and 18 other individuals. One of those counts was under the Georgia RICO statute. Click here to watch Jeff’s interview with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.
Click here to watch WCCO’s segment summarizing RICO and its use in Georgia against Trump.
Click here to listen to Jeff’s more comprehensive interview with SiriusXM POTUS.
RICO and Gang Violence in Minneapolis
On May 3, 2023, the U.S. Attorney for Minnesota indicted 45 alleged gang members under RICO. Since then, the media has been interviewing Jeff about the historical context of the RICO statute.
Click here to watch the story that aired on KARE 11.
Click here to watch the story that aired on Fox 9 News.
Jeff also discussed the indictment with WCCO Radio. Click here to listen to that interview.
RICO and Donald Trump
On the October 4, 2022 episode of Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Podcast – Breakdown, Jeff and other legal minds discussed whether Donald Trump is likely to be charged under Georgia’s RICO statute. Click here to listen:
Jeff Grell, a lawyer who specializes in racketeering cases, said Trump may have waited too long in bringing his racketeering claims. Civil racketeering claims are governed by a four-year statute of limitations, Grell said, but there is usually a big dispute about when that four-year period begins to run. Donald Trump Sues Hillary Clinton Over 2016 Russian Collusion Allegations, Reuters (March 25, 2022).
RICO and Young Thug
The RICO case against Young Thug, Gunna (born Sergio Kitchens), and their co-defendants is a doozy. For help unpacking it, VICE called up Jeff Grell, an attorney who’s been litigating RICO cases since the 1990s, wrote a textbook about the law, and teaches a class on it at the University of Minnesota Law School. He weighed in on how the case against YSL might play out, and walked us through the intricacies of the controversial law it hinges on. How Young Thug’s RICO Case Could Play Out, According to a RICO Expert, Vice (May 11, 2022).
RICO and R. Kelly
Jeffrey E. Grell, a Minnesota attorney who specializes in rico cases, disagreed. “Technically, it is not unusual to try a rico case with one member of an enterprise,” he said. “R. Kelly is the Godfather in this case. He’s allegedly operating and managing that enterprise, and he’s very intentionally and very purposefully giving these people the task of essentially wrangling up victims for him. How they do it is up to them, but he’s the person that’s directing all of this.” Why is R. Kelly Standing Trial Alone?, The New Yorker (Sept. 22. 2021).
RICO and the Opioid Crisis
Jeff Grell, a lawyer from Grell Feist, said that in “a normal criminal case, you essentially have to have blood on your hands, pulling the trigger, robbing the money, selling the drugs. Under Rico, that’s not necessary. Rico seeks to impose liability on persons who are knowingly operating and managing the people who are directly committing a crime.” Opioid Executive Admits to “No Morals” Ahead of Prison Term, The Irish Times (Jan. 25, 2020).
Grell also puts RICO into action…
VICTORY IN THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF VIRGINIA
– Navient Solutions, LLC v. The Law Offices of Jeffrey Lohman, et al.
On October 6, 2023, the Honorable Judge Leonie M. Brinkema granted the defendants’ motions for judgment as a matter of law. As plaintiff, Navient claimed that the Lohman defendants violated RICO by bringing sham claims against Navient under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). The Lohman defendants, represented by Jeff, consisted of the lawyers and the law firm that brought the TCPA claims against Navient and on behalf of student loan debtors whose loans were serviced by Navient. In August of 2021, a jury returned a verdict in favor of Navient. The defendants brought post-trial motions for judgment as a matter of law. In granting the defendants’ motions, the court stated, in part: “… [T]he litigation filed under the [TCPA] …, which the Lohman defendants brought against Navient either as arbitrations or lawsuits, was legitimate, not sham, litigation, and therefore could not support the RICO, tortious interference with contract, and fraud claims for which the jury found defendants liable.” Click here for the full text of the opinion denying the defendants motion to dismiss. Jeff’s co-counsel in the case was Tom Urban.
VICTORY IN THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF FLORIDA
– Platinum Prop. Inv. Network. v. Charles Sells, et al.
On September 1, 2022, a jury awarded $3 million in actual damages on the plaintiffs’ RICO claim. The plaintiffs, Jeff’s clients, alleged that the defendants hijacked the plaintiffs’ website traffic through a pattern of service mark infringement, false emails, counterfeit websites, and other acts of unfair competition. Click here to see the verdict form. In denying an earlier motion to dismiss the RICO claim, the Court found that the plaintiff had pled both an association-in-fact and legal entity enterprise and that the pattern pled by the plaintiff was sufficiently continuous pursuant to the doctrine of fortuitous interruption. Click here for the full text of the opinion denying the defendant’s motion to dismiss. Steven Pollack was plaintiffs’ lead counsel throughout the litigation.
VICTORY IN THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF IOWA
– Kruse v. Repp, et al.
On June 15, 2021, the Honorable Stephanie M. Rose denied the defendants’ motions for summary judgment on RICO claims brought by Mr. Grell’s client in the Southern District of Iowa. A judgment debtor caused a horrific car accident that resulted in permanent and substantial injury to the plaintiff. The plaintiff obtained a seven-figure judgment against the debtor. The plaintiff claims that the defendants (a bank and a law firm) participated in a scheme to fraudulently conceal the assets of the judgment debtor. The Court found that the evidence, when viewed in a light most favorable to the the plaintiff, could prove all of the elements of a substantive RICO claim and plaintiff’s civil standing. Click here for the full text of the court’s summary judgment decision. Click here for the full text of an earlier opinion denying the defendants’ motions to dismiss.
VICTORY IN THE U.S. COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE NINTH CIRCUIT
– Bui v. Nguyen, et al.
On October 2, 2107, Jeff Grell appeared before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit on behalf of Mai Bui, a 79 year-old California woman who was defrauded out of nearly $6 million she won in the lottery. The Ninth Circuit argument focused on whether the defendants’ activities possessed sufficient continuity to constitute a pattern of racketeering. Click here to watch a video of the argument. On October 17, 2017, the 9th Circuit issued its opinion, reversing the district court’s dismissal of Ms. Bui’s claim and granting leave for Ms. Bui to file an amended complaint. Click here to read the opinion.
VICTORY IN THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS
– Exeed Ind., LLC v. Younis
On November 8, 2016, the Honorable James B. Zagel dismissed RICO claims brought against Mr. Grell’s client in the Northern District of Illinois. The court dismissed the RICO claims because the plaintiffs did not suffer a “domestic injury” arising out of an alleged scheme that occurred abroad. Click here for the full text of the opinion dismissing the RICO claims. On February 10, 2017, the court dismissed the plaintiffs’ remaining state law claims for want of subject matter jurisdiction.